Chomp: Toscana pizza, pasta are great tasty options
FOOD: ★ ★
SERVICE: ★ ★
SCENE: ★ ★
★ = Meh
★ ★ = Good
★ ★ ★ = Great
ADDRESS: 5210 N. Navarro St., VictoriaPHONE: 361-580-3000HOURS: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday
THE EATS: PASTA AND FOUR CHEESES
THE ONE SENTENCE REVIEW: PIPING HOT AND A BIT SALTY.
The first time I visited Toscana's, they still had a plastic banner hanging over the doorway, bolted to the building it shares with its neighbors Supercuts and Hastings.
I remember going there for a late lunch with a friend and thinking this place is a little out of its element here in Victoria.
A huge, wood-fire oven takes up most of the space in its open kitchen, and the refrigerator case at the front of the restaurant is not shy to show off the sweet delectables patiently waiting to be ordered.
Since then, Toscana has upgraded from a plastic banner to a sleek, lighted sign.
Unlike many of the other restaurants in the area, Toscana's menu is small and every so often changes to offer what Chef Andrew Sparkman has hiding up his sleeve. The best thing on the menu, of course, is the pizza.
The pizzas from Toscana are made fresh to order and are made with a thin crust and the pizza sauce is seasoned just right. Each bite is crisp and crunchy, making it hard not to eat the outer crust first.
Before they pull the pizza out of the oven, the waitress will come and place a cake/pizza stand on the table and the appropriate amount of plates for the dinners. By then, you'll be more than ready to eat - whether you use a knife and fork or the utensils you were born with.
Their menu also has soup, sandwiches and pasta, but only two or three of each option, so as not to overwhelm the diner with too many choices.
One of our readers, @gavchels, sent me a foodflash of the pasta and four cheeses, so I decided to give it a try. It's served with a cheese sauce of gouda, mozzarella, parmesan, asiago with bacon and chicken and bread crumbs and was enough for dinner and lunch the next day.
My dish came out bubbling hot but may have been left in the oven a little longer than needed because the edges were browned and the cheese rock hard.
The bread crumbs were more like croutons, but they helped to balance the saltiness of the cheese and the bacon. The more I dug into the center, the creamier the cheese sauce. The chef made a good choice on the pasta because the penne held up well against the heat and the cheeses.
Unfortunately, I didn't have any room left for dessert. There was one last slice of the praline cheesecake that looked heavenly with its thick, crumbly crust beneath the rich filling. Next time you're mine, cheesecake.
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